Using Bluetooth beacons for transportation and logistics

Using Bluetooth beacons and data loggers for transportation and logistics is growing in popularity.  We look at some of the reasons why this is, some things to watch for when choosing a Bluetooth beacon sensor or data logger and some of our products that may be appropriate.  Below we use the term Bluetooth beacon and this term also includes a sensor beacon that logs the data and which can be extracted at will.

1.  Small form

Form is important in many transportation and logistics use cases since often the Bluetooth beacon needs to be inside packaging.  Bluetooth is incredibly small and within its low power requirements, even with a coin cell battery is small and light weight for almost all requirements.

2.  Cost

The cost of Bluetooth chips is very competitive since it is effectively an open standard and there is intense competition between chip producers.  This enables end users to benefit more than if they purchased a traditional closed proprietary system.

However it is not just the cost of the device itself.  Bluetooth Low Energy can be used by mobile phones and standard off the shelf gateways.  This means the overall cost of the solution is reduced from a more traditional logging solution.  In terms of maintenance, as the batteries can often last in excess of a year or more, the overall maintenance of the solution is reduced.

3.  RANGE

The range of many Bluetooth devices is in excess of 225 feet or 100 meters.  With the advent of Bluetooth 5 this will be extended to beyond 200 meters of 450 feet.  This enables Bluetooth signals to be picked up in a truck cab even if the Bluetooth device is in a container on the trailer.  There is also soon to be released a Bluetooth mesh networking standard which will allow a very small number of sensors to cover an area of up to 1km very easily.

4. Things to watch for

Radio licensing

As Bluetooth is a radio technology, each device needs to comply with the radio standards of the country in which it operates.  In the U.S. this is governed by the FCC while in Europe there is a similar EC standard.  Also Bluetooth devices need to be registered with Bluetooth SIG if they are to use the Bluetooth branding otherwise they are illegal devices.   This often requires the device to go through testing With Bluetooth being an open standard, there are many hundreds of manufacturers of Bluetooth devices.  This can cause a problem since the quality and the legal compliance of the devices varies dramatically.

Flight regulations

The next thing to watch out for in transportation and logistics are the regulations regarding batteries and radio transmissions in flight.  Many B leutooth beacons will not pass FAA regulations, either because the size of the battery is too large else the beacon will not stop transmitting in flight and not comply this way.

Security 

Many Bluetooth devices do not have security features necessary for commercial deployment.  This relates to the enclosure as well as the Bluetooth services adopted.  For example, many Bluetooth devices can be “hacked” by connecting to a UART service and then changing its name or beacon payload.

5.  Our products for transportation and logistics

We have a range of Bluetooth sensor beacon data loggers that are ideal for transportation and logistics.  They are operated by a CR2032 coin cell which will meet FAA regulations on the transportation of batteries.  They have a flight mode that prevents them transmitting in flight, while still logging the data, a feature that locks the device from being hacked and the ability to disable the button to prevent physical tampering of the device.  If you are looking for a Bluetooth beacon sensor data logger that is ideal for transportation and logistics then get in touch and we can tell you more.

Our products ideal for transportation and logistics

TEMPO DISC BLUETOOTH SENOSR AND DATA LOGGER

Just £39.00

Small in form with a long battery life and good range, our Tempo Disc Temperature and Humidity Sensor and Data Logger is ideal for transportation.  It features an airplane mode, a password feature and the ability to disable the button for security and tamperproofing.